More of the Same on the Colliery Dams

Ron Bolin: August 25, 2015

At yesterday’s (Aug. 24) second meeting of the recently appointed Colliery Dams Select Committee it became apparent that the Committee was on a course for implosion. Established in late July of this year to try to make some sense of the comedy of misinformation and power politics which this very expensive project has become, the Select Committee appears to have discovered that their status has not proven to shield them from the sloth long associated with the project and that they are not getting the kind of timely information and feedback which is necessary for its purposes to prevail. Reports and maps defining the configuration limits of the new spillway and the limitations determined by the dig and drill exercises were unavailable as were even the general parameters of the limited, cost plus, bids which were due to be received before the CDSC meeting.

This latter point is no small thing. Significant bid openings should take place at the date and time stated to be the be date and time of the bid closing. They should be open to the public and the purpose of the exercise is to demonstrate that, at the least, the timing rules have been followed to the letter and that no late or altered bids are accepted. Thus there is a definitive record of who made bids and the amount of the bid provided, even though in complex works the low bid may not win, and doubly so in this case as any eventual “low” bidder will be disguised behind a cost plus contract. Still, though the minimal bid information should have been available at yesterday’s CDSC meeting it was not. It was reported that the bid opening would not take place until today… a very curious procedure. What is the reason for delaying any bid opening even by a minute?

The CDSC was established with the following Terms of Reference:

http://www.nanaimo.ca/assets/Municipal~Hall/City~Council/CommitteesCommissionsBoards/TOR_Colliery%20Dams%20Select%20Committee.pdf

And has had the following Meetings:

August 24, 2015 Special Open Colliery Dams Select Committee Agenda

https://www.nanaimo.ca/UploadedFilesPath/Site_Structure/Corporate_Services/Corporate_Administration/2015_Committee_Agendas/SOCDSC150824A.pdf

August 18, 2015 Special Open Colliery Dams Select Committee Agenda

https://www.nanaimo.ca/UploadedFilesPath/Site_Structure/Corporate_Services/Corporate_Administration/2015_Committee_Agendas/SOCDSC150818A.pdf

While I wish the CDSC well, it remains to be seen whether the cooperation they receive from the City is sufficient to warrant further Committee participation in the Colliery Dams project.

I look forward to your comments on this ongoing situation and to the questions which should be asked about this project and its development from day one on.
A very interesting and, in my mind, related document on municipal project management can be found at the web site of the Auditor General for Local Governments (AGLG) in a Report recently completed by the AGLG on the District of Sechelt.
http://www.aglg.ca/includes/docs/Audit-Topic-3-Report-2-Sechelt.pdf

There is a lot of relevant food for thought in this document. Your comments on this document are likewise solicited.

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